This year marked our 20th year doing the bake-off. We always date it according to my cousin, Cole’s, birthday because his mother, Donna, was pregnant with him at our first bake-off and hes was born a few weeks later. I think it was actually Donna’s idea (who is my father’s sister) to get together her sister in law (my mother) and her sister whom all grew up together along with my cousin, Morgan, and I to do the bake-off. We all get together the Saturday before Christmas and bake our little hearts out. It changes homes from year to year, however wants to host it. We gather at 8-9 in the morning and start baking and bake all day long-maybe until about 5 or so. That’s when the boys/husbands all show up for dinner and bring dinner after playing golf or Christmas shopping or whatever. After dinner we divvy up the cookies between all of us. This year there were 9 of us and we all went home with large rubbermaid totes full of cookies. I meant to count this year just to have an idea of how many but with 9 of us we all baked between 3-5 bake (oven used) cookies and usually double, sometimes triple the receipe and all do some no-bakes (like rice krispy treats, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered peanut butter ritz crackers, brittle, fudge, etc.). That is a lot of cookies!
This year was the first I got to host it-I finally had a home big enough for everyone and we have one oven upstairs, one downstairs, and we rented a propane powered oven for upstairs also. Talk about baking…3 ovens eh? Since it was my first time the house was pristine and everyone’s “workstations” were labeled with a little treat of Madagascar Vanilla in a huge Mason Jar (to match my lights) with a drawing from Olivia and a Christmas hand towel. Everyone brings their own appliances, ingredients (except for milk, baking powder, and baking soda which is supplied by the hostess since little amounts are needed), and we do a little round of dirty Santa before we start and some years, mimosa’s! Here is peek at our favorite “tradition!”
Before we got started…From left to right..Susan, aunt, Jessica, her soon to be daughter in law, Molly, my sister in law, Sandra, my aunt, Morgan, her daughter/my cousin, Janis, my mother, me, and below me Olivia!
And this wasn’t even close to all of them…this was only halfway through
And so after we are done we all pass them out to friends, co-workers, and others who have come to expect them year after year